( Turn off seagulls and ocean waves please )
ONE: It took about 1
week to put it together. 4 of us we're heading to Elliott Key.
It was chilly in Florida for an extended spell and we we're ready
to take advantage of of the cool climate. MATE John Erskine Jr.
and I decided, we're breaking in the new vessel with a daughters
only ( goodbye
wives ! ) trip
called the D and D. - Ironically, that was the previous name of
the vessel " D & D's
fish tales " which came from NY. This beauty ( the boat that
is ! ) had never seen the cool blue waters of South Florida and
everyone knew we we're all in for a BIG TREAT !
Armed with camping
gear, chairs, firewood and grill food ( + lots of sudzy brew),
the Dad's and Daughters set sail at 2 pm heading for Elliot Key.
Half a tank in the main, and 1/4 in the reserve ( about $250 in
cash), we set sail disregarding the weather. A fun ride
was on, all the way down past 395 heading out of Miami towards
South Beach. MATE John Erskine Jr was having a blast trying
out the boat's new features: outriggers, fish well, etc.
weather shifted from grey potential rain to wet chilly breezes.
Heavy rain was coming in from the west and the vessel handled the
2-4 ft seas with no problems. The water was sloppy. The flybridge
took some getting used to, as the elements we're right in my face
throughout the frigid trip down. Capt'n
note1 : Remember the Eisenglass next time. The cool
front broke through right before Key Biscayne Bay, right where
the waters open up just north of Stiltsville. The rain dissappaited
and a huge double rainbow took to the east as the skies cleared.
The kids cheered and we knew we had broken through, but the sun was
setting quick and we we're still about 45 minutes north of Elliott.
As we we're passing Boca Chita,
I looked over at John ( now known as Junior ) and said, " Jr.,
Let's check out Boca Chita. " The aerial looked beautiful from
GOOGLE EARTH, plus we're running out of precious daylight. We pulled
into the beautiful inset harbor ( see pic top left cut in ) past
the lighthouse and cannon, and met up with a tightly packed harbor.
With some clever bartering and bargaining, I cooersed the 45' Silverton
in front of me to move up just enough to get us out of the NO DOCKING
ZONE. Even on a private millionare island you have to fight for
a parking spot. AND LET ME TELL YOU NOW, it was worth it ! Boca
Chita Key delivered the goods.
Camping, the fire, wandering the island
at night, no bugs, cool jackets, a full moon, and some interesting
characters milling under in the moonlight was enough to know this
was an AMAZING MAIDEN VOYAGE. With the kids safely
asleep in their tents with the Grady White Atlantic looking over
us nearby, Jr. and I cracked some brews and wandered over to a nearby
campsite. We hooked up with some local boys who told us they've been
doing the camp thing there for years and instructed us promptly on
all of the things we needed to do before we left. We donated some
select firewood we brought from Broward County. We played guitar
and had fun until 1am. We all said goodnight, then dropped into
our tents, zipped up and hunkered down for a 40 degree evening outside.
It was perfect !
The following morning, we woke to a huge
breakfast on board whipped up by Jr. and got ready to explore the
island. We took the hiking trail all the way around the perimeter
of the island and read all about Mr. Honeywell.
( please download .pdf above for more info ) Our kids collected bags
of flawless beautiful shells and we began the campsite breakdown.
Noone wanted to leave. With a cool breeze coming out of the north,
we set sail back towards Miami in plenty of time. We blasted all
the way back through the BAY until we reached the bridge.
some aerials of us on the way back. I still have to buy one of these,
sorry boatpix. Please visit their website ok ?